Ag mechanics improve agricultural technology by working as engineers, sales representatives, or service technicians and mechanics. Educational requirements vary by career path.
Ag mechanic careers focus on selling, designing and maintaining farming equipment. A lot of troubleshooting goes on in the ag mechanics industry, so students looking to get one of these careers need to have good problem-solving skills. Higher-paying positions are generally reserved for students who get their bachelor's. Courses in these programs may include fluid mechanics, design methodology and soil science. There are many different sectors students can work in after graduation, such as food manufacturing, federal government, educational services and agriculture. Some ag mechanic careers require individuals to have a license.
|Career||Agricultural Engineer||Wholesale and Manufacturing Sales Representative||Diesel Service Technician and Mechanic|
|Education Requirements||Bachelor's degree||High school diploma||High school diploma or equivalent|
|Other Requirements||Licensure required if selling own services||Customer service skills||Certification and dexterity skills preferred|
|Job Growth (2014-24)*||4%||7%||12%|
|Mean Salary (2015)*||$78,490 annually||$66,790 annually||$40,720 annually|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Those looking to work in the ag mechanic industry usually need to only have a high school diploma, but certifications and work experience are preferred for many positions. Below are descriptions and overviews of possible careers for ag mechanic graduates.
Agricultural engineers design and construct ag equipment and structures, ranging from tillers to storage facilities. Using engineering principles, these professionals assess technological needs in terms of farming requirements in order to create efficient machinery. For example, engineers may test varying power sources to find the most economical fuel for tractors or evaluate water conservation methods to design cost-effective sprinkler systems. Engineers may also be responsible for writing ag machinery guidelines or manuals.
Ag Machinery Salesperson
Ag machinery salespeople travel to see prospective customers in order to market agricultural equipment. Salespeople may also cold-call lists of potential clients in order to generate leads. Once salespeople find a customer, they may schedule a meeting or product demonstration in order to solicit a sale. Accordingly, these professionals are product savvy and keep abreast of technological changes in farm equipment. If a product is sold, salespersons may also train the farmer on equipment functions and troubleshooting.
Ag Mechanic Technician
Ag mechanic technicians service and repair farm equipment. These professionals generally work for maintenance companies and may travel in order to perform repair work onsite. Entry-level technicians generally perform routine maintenance, such as changing air filters or annual service inspections. More experienced technicians may be responsible for servicing hydraulic, braking or electrical systems.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that agricultural engineers could expect a slower-than-average increase in job opportunities - only 4% - between 2014 and 2024. Their mean annual salary, however, was $78,490 in May 2015. Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives, including those for technical and scientific products, can include agricultural machinery in their product lines. The BLS reported this group would see an increase of 7% from 2014-2024 and that they earned a mean annual salary of $66,790 in 2015. Diesel service technicians and mechanics, which could include ag mechanic technicians, were predicted to see a similar increase of 12% during that decade. However, farm equipment mechanics earned a lower mean salary of $40,720 per year in 2015 (www.bls.gov).
There are several career opportunities for individuals in the ag mechanic field. Some, such as an agricultural engineer, require a college degree. Others, such as sales representatives and mechanics, require only a high school diploma and required training.